The Blood Donation Imbroglio

Day 2:

I walk out of the blood bank with a myriad of mixed feelings – vexation, frustration, helplessness, anxiety, sympathy and finally miniscule satisfaction.

Prologue: Day 1

A moist weekday afternoon. Heavy lunch. Perfect catalysts for a siesta. A routine check of the mail reveals a situation hapless enough to seize my attention off the siesta inducing conditions. A 3 year old kid suffering from blood cancer, admitted to a hospital at stone’s throw distance from my place. Social responsibility beckoning.

Interlude :

My limbic system [part of the brain that deals with emotions] demanded a solution to be found from the cerebral cortex [part of the brain that is responsible for reasoning]. With the contact numbers mentioned in the mail, I introduced myself as a volunteer to help the people concerned in this issue. A reminder of the callousness in today’s life was in store. Today, being a government holiday, was an “off” day for doctors in that government hospital; thereby the blood bank refused to collect blood from any volunteers, citing lack of duty doctors as the reason.

The Doctor Encounter: Day 2

Location : A Government hospital specializing in oncology.

Following a heavy breakfast, fully loaded, I reached the hospital by 1040AM. The estimate of this whole affair was about one hour. But there was a display of apathy pending. On asking the concerned doctor about the procedure for blood donation, I was subject to some grouchy comments, as I had purportedly annoyed her and wasted her time. First lesson in basic govt hospital behavior learnt. But the quality of teaching exceeded expectations and there was more to come. On asking the concerned nurse about the procedure, I was told that the patient should be giving a requisition for blood, and without that document I am not allowed to donate. So, her answer to my question was that I should be confirming tomorrow with the kid’s parents if they have submitted a requisition and then donate when it’s ready. Even with the demand for blood increasing every passing day, nobody was bothered about making use of a voluntary donor.

The “Bloody” situation :

Putting away the pleasantries offered by the hospital staff, I took the help of a security person to find the blood bank. Thankfully, I discovered that the treatment meted out to donors here is totally contrary to that in the hospital ward! The person in charge of the blood bank was obliging and immediately handed out a form to be filled which asked details of my health in the past few months. The duty doctor checked my vital stats and I was good to go.

As there is a platelet requirement for the patient, and also owing to the reason that I have a healthy weight, extra 50-100 ml was taken from me. This led to some weakness for some time but the refreshments that were offered after donation restored my comfort levels. After returning the ID card of the patient, the 3 year old boy suffering from blood cancer, I walked out, enriched with all the experiences that will last for days to come.

Post Script : Blood donation is completely safe and good for the body. Any healthy person above 18 years of age can donate blood every 3 months. Blood from each donor is separated into components like RBC, WBC, platelets and can save up to 4 people.

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11 comments

  1. A post bringing out the altruistic philanthropist in you!
    1)A donor ready to donate, shouldn’t be subjected to questions and formalities. Rarely do such thoughts come into a person’s mind, they need to be utilized to full extent!
    2)is it really true, 4 ppl benefiting from a single donation?? Thats nice news!
    3)Gr8 job; going to the nearby hospital and donating and hats off for that extra effort of writing a post on it. 🙂

  2. I’m glad you wrote about it. Please do include that it’s a painless affair and that fear shouldn’t stop people from donating. I find it funny that some adults refrain from donating blood stating reasons like they may not have enough blood, or the needle looks scary and the likes.
    Come on, we’re no more kids. Let’s try to do the least bit we can for our fellow beings.

  3. The blog focuses on a government hospital scenario where the staff just doesnt give a damn about people comung up with voluntary help. But then, its the same in any afforadble, economic hopital anywhere. I am secluding all the hi-fi 3 star, 4 star hospitals which are sprouting up these days, promising a golden class treatment for a dying man!!
    In any hospital for that matter, its necessary to have a ‘MAY I HELP U DESK’ which of course well fed with staff to guide the voluntary helps.(I am shouting the govt hosp right now which is least bothered to even clean the corridors, let alone MAY I HELP U DESKS they say!)

    Coming back to the discrimination of GOVT VS other hosp, the welcome note is no better else where.. so why jus blame the govt hospitals? U have to definitely course thru endless corridors n gates if u r offering to help/volunteer.

    Any body above 18 CANNOT DONATE blood. Even if one is 40 yr old and has poor weight, he/she is not allowed to donate blood.

    Its not the fear of needle or stuff like that which scares few poeple from donating blood, the fact is sum individuals cannot sustain the momentary loss of blood from the body and start having spells of dizziness half way through bcuz of which the procedure might have to be stopped. (This wronlgly portrayed among peer leads to fear not the whole scenario by itself.) One’s purpose of helping is still not served if it is stopped half a way through rite? so This is wen past history of donor comes into pic, based on wich he is let to/ not let to donate blood.
    Only willing to help doesnt serve the puropse sumtimes. This formality can be made quicker but defnitely not ignored.(which has several other safety purposes too, which are too elaborate to mention here.)

    I wud want to conclude saying, moderate private hosp no better than govt hospital in issues lik these.(voluntary help, services…)
    and also anybody willing to help jus cannot be considered for procedures like these.
    But govt hospital have their own ingrediants to spice up the situation alrite… thats a point to agree upon.

  4. @Megha – Strong premise, strong opinions!
    I have some points to quote in the defense of my statements.

    1. I have donated blood in private hospitals before, that are not the hi fi ones. The donors are treated very well. The staff appreciate voluntary donors and brief the procedure, even in their ever-busy schedule. Usually its just filling a form which asks questions about your health. I don’t expect a doctor to guide me anywhere. The nurses or the MAY I HELP YOU desk [if available] can do it. And in my previous experiences, the nurses have been really obliging. Expecting a welcome would be stupid on my part :). I would suggest clear directions put up in the entrance of every building in the hospital premises for donors to follow. A moderate hospital takes more money, I agree. But there are services provided when the patient needs it. And definitely, the blood bank wouldn’t be closed due to some govt holiday!

    2. I have mentioned that any HEALTHY person above 18 years of age can donate blood. I must have described the HEALTHY donor. Thanks for bringing it up 🙂
    – The donor must weigh more than 50 kg.
    – There must not be a history of diseases like typhoid, jaundice and the like, in 6 months prior to donation.
    – The donor shouldn’t consumed alcohol in the last 24 hrs, and shouldn’t have smoked in the last 6 hrs prior to donation.
    – The donor should have had a good meal 2 hrs before donation.
    These are the general prerequisites. Ladies have other extra criteria to meet. If I have missed out on anything important, please clarify. The blood that is donated is tested and only then is administered to the patient.

    3. This was the 6th time I donated blood. From my experience, the donor is told to wait for about half an hour after donation during which he is monitored. He is also given refreshments and glucose to give him energy. I agree that there will be inhibitions while donating blood.Fear of needle and the sight of blood are the common reason I have heard for people not donating blood. But everything has a first time right? Unless its tried once, how will anybody get to know what it feels like? Nothing can substitute for the satisfaction you get, that you have been of some little help in your own way. And when it comes to a life, every bottle of blood matters.

  5. Volunteers should not be taken for granted. With everything available for a price and majority being able to afford it, the volunteer count is decreasing. But the satisfaction of doing something you want to which helps others is priceless. Cheers to you and your thoughts!

  6. It would be unfair on my part to criticise the government hospitals for the treatment meted out to you, because i myself haven’t donated blood voluntarily in any hospital for that matter!

    But going by your experience, the government hospital staff cut out such a sorry figure for their shocking behavior towards a voluntary donor!

    They need to be counselled on basic human etiquette and behavior. Its not just the govt hospital staff, any govt organisation where people govt staff interaction happens on a day to day basis, such behavior has become the norm these days.

    We Indians are known to be very hospitable people. We welcome foreigners with open arms, we embrace them, give them the best possible treatment that u can ever imagine.
    But why do we turn a blind eye towards our fellow countrymen, fellow brethrens!!
    Such attitude should be strongly condemned!!

    All said and done,you were allowed to do your little bit in saving a child’s life!! U must be proud of ur noble gesture and must be whole heartedly contented !!

  7. Your noble deed of donating blood to the needy is deeply appreciated.
    Everyday thousands of chain mails are circulated around the web which in turn has induced ignorance among people which is why I feel responses to mails genuinely seeking aid are frigid. Nevertheless your primary reaction to such a situation discloses the altruist in you, thumbs up to that.
    What can be more regretful than a ‘voluntary donor-Involuntary staff’ situation? I guess the society has blended in to such a system and can’t help repenting about it. Doing the right thing individually only can heal the flaws inherent in our system.
    At the end of the day that 3 year old kid casting an imaginary smile reflecting your benignity, in your psyche is what I reckon to be invaluable.
    8 billion mosquitos can’t be wrong! Believe them 🙂

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